Langevin, Courtney, Cicilline Applaud Passage of the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Protection Act

Dec 4, 2014 Issues: Energy & Environment, Rhode Island, Vote

Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI), Joe Courtney (D-CT) and David Cicilline (D-RI) applauded today’s passage of the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Protection Act, legislation that Langevin and Courtney first introduced in 2010. Langevin reintroduced the bill with Courtney and Cicilline in the House in 2013. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced the companion bill in the Senate.

The Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Protection Act, which passed today as part of the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act, will pave the way for the Pawcatuck River and other South County and Southeast Connecticut waterways to receive federal funds and protections under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

“This legislation has been a long time coming, and its passage finally recognizes the important role these waterways play in the Rhode Island and Connecticut economies,” said Langevin. “We must preserve the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed for the sake of our tourism, fishing and recreation industries, and extending the protections provided by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to this area would ensure the long-term health of this important natural resource.”

“The Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed is one of our region’s greatest natural treasures, and I am thrilled that our many years of advocacy for the watershed are paying dividends. Our coastal communities would benefit greatly from the environmental preservation funding that comes with a Wild and Scenic River designation, and I look forward to seeing this process move forward,” said Courtney.

“The Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed and all of Rhode Island’s waterways give an economic boost to local communities and provide residents and visitors access to the natural beauty of our state. This bill will provide effective federal support to ensure our rivers stay healthy for years to come,” said Cicilline. “I congratulate my colleague Congressman Langevin whose strong advocacy was essential in advancing this legislation.”

The legislation mandates a study on the rivers contained within the 300 square mile Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Any portions that are deemed appropriate for classification under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System would then be eligible for existing federal funds. The legislation is supported by the State of Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management, the State of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection, the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association, the Nature Conservancy and Save the Bay.